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February 15, 2017
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7 p.m.

US Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Saving a Syrian Synagogue
Public Program
The destroyed synagogue in Jobar, Syria, that local residents had tried to protect. <i>Courtesy of Aahed Sulayman</i>
The destroyed synagogue in Jobar, Syria, that local residents had tried to protect. Courtesy of Aahed Sulayman

For centuries a synagogue in Jobar, Syria, served as a holy gathering site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims who came to see the cave where the prophet Eliyahu Hanavi, also known as Elijah, hid to escape persecution. Now the almost-six-year war in Syria has devastated the country, including Jobar.

As the violence intensified, residents banded together to save the synagogue and the precious objects within it. In the midst of violent atrocities, their leader reached across religions and nations for support, including to the chief rabbi of Syria. Shelling by the Syrian regime destroyed the synagogue in May 2014, but because of the heroic efforts of a Muslim man, some of its Judaica survived. His efforts testify to the humanity and character of ordinary Syrians caught in the maelstrom of war.

Adam Entous, Staff Writer, the Washington Post
Rabbi Avraham Hamra, Chief Rabbi of Syria
Aahed Sulayman, a Syrian man who sought to save the synagogue

Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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Cases: Syria
Since its outbreak in March 2011, the conflict in Syria has cost the lives of more than 400,000 people, displaced millions more, and involved numerous atrocities and crimes against humanity.
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Watch: Syria’s White Helmets: Saving Humanity
The Syrian regime has targeted its own people for nearly six years. More than 400,000 Syrians have been killed. The White Helmets believe that by saving one life they save all of humanity.
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